After posting about the amazing results I had with Anne Sémonin’s Miracle Eye Contour Anti-Wrinkle Cream (see here – the fine lines around my eyes were almost totally erased) the lovely people at the brand asked me whether I might like to try a few more things from the range. Perhaps they could prescribe me a full routine to follow, introduce me to their expert facialist, Ewa Berkmann, get my skin glowing after the hormonal upset of pregnancy and birth and the weeks of relentless night feeds…
Needless to say, I didn’t have to be asked twice.
And so here I am a month or so later, having received a made-to-measure skincare routine which I have followed almost to the letter (I’m terrible at being told what to do) and my skin is indeed glowing. Balanced, soothed and glowing, to be more exact – an important distinction, because it’s not all about the glow. I know that’s what we strive for, that airbrushed kind of luminosity – the even tone, the lack of spots and marks – but there’s more to good skin than that.
Anne Sémonin specialise in luxury ‘made-to-measure’ skincare, recognising that everyone’s skin is different – subjected to different stresses, hormonal issues, environmental conditions and so on – and that skin, along with its needs, changes on a day-to-day basis. I certainly find that my skin requires different things from one day to the next; if I’m feeling relatively perky and have had a decent amount of sleep, then that’s usually reflected in my routine. Perhaps it’ll be more focused on maintaining good moisture levels, or going in for a bit of exfoliation to enhance radiance. If, however, I’ve had a run of bad nights and I’ve been eating rubbish food and stuck in a dark room for days on end with a cranky newborn, I’ll go for something more drastic in the skincare department – serious moisture-boosting, for example, or a peel to brighten and lift the skin.
So I was delighted that my routine, as prescribed by Ewa, included different options depending on how I felt my skin was behaving. I had a solution for grey, tired skin (handily marked “for after a sleepless night”), an option for dry skin with redness and patches, a rescue program for days when my skin felt devitalised… I loved doing a quick appraisal of my face in the morning and then selecting from my row of tubes and glass bottles – in my head I was an old-fashioned apothecary, standing in front of my workbench. (In reality, I was an overtired Mum of two-under-two, wondering why there was a jar of jam inside the bathroom cabinet and a used nappy in the sink, but let’s glaze over that part.)
You can find the full made-to-measure routine here, but I wanted to talk in more depth about a few of the things that really stood out and gave great results.
Firstly, as a sort of pre-cursor, I must say that Anne Sémonin products are incredibly active and concentrated – I felt a surprising “tingle” on my face more than a few times! – and, with all of them, a little goes a very long way. Perhaps because of these high concentrations of active ingredients, I did see results faster than with some of the other brands that I’ve tested – the Phytarosa Serum, for example, which is formulated to enhance the complexion and promote a sunkissed glow, really did do just that. After about a week or so of daily use, I realised that my face had taken on a lovely colour, yet I’d had very minimal sun exposure and hadn’t used a gradual tanner in ages! Hello, no-foundation days…
The biggest change to my usual routine was the addition of a daily mask. Or masks plural, in some cases, depending on how my skin was looking. I can be quite lazy when it comes to masks, using them as an occasional “pamper” gesture rather than the very effective, targeted treatments that they can be. Anne Sémonin have a “mask a day” philosophy and the various masks are considered to be the key to any regimen, providing customisable solutions for things like dullness and dryness and sensitivity. I had a whopping five masks in my routine, to be used in the morning and/or evening depending on my skin. The Mineral Mask, Gel Mask and Cream Mask were the morning options, the Exfoliating Mask was to be used every other evening and the Resurfacing Peel Mask, with its combination of physical and biological exfoliants, was my intensive once-a-week treatment.
When I first read through the routine, I have to admit to balking slightly at the idea of using all of these masks – I thought that it would be really time-consuming – but I actually enjoyed setting aside a few extra minutes every day to let my masks get to work. I mean, it felt totally decadent (who cleans bean juice from the kitchen floor wearing a customised cream face mask?!) but I can deal with that.
Now when I say “customised”, I don’t mean that the masks were formulated especially for me (all of the masks are available to buy online or in-store); I’m referring to the way in which they could be mixed together to provide quite specific solutions to whatever skincare concerns I happened to have. For example, on mornings where my skin felt particularly sensitive, I was instructed to mix “one teaspoon of the Cream Mask with the Soothing Intensive Complex“ (the anti-inflammatory essential oils complex that I used nightly, before bed) to create a treatment mask that would tackle dryness and red patches. Or, if I’d had a bad night’s sleep, I would use the Mineral Mask mixed with a few drops of toner and spend a minute or so massaging it in. This was where I started to feel like that aforementioned apothecary, taking droplets from my little glass bottles and mixing unguents in the palm of my hand!
Of course, the masks can be used straight, applying directly from the tube, but I think that customising them to suit your skin’s needs takes masking to a whole new level. Adding something to soothe (the Soothing Complex), something to tighten and refresh (the Gel Mask), something to boost the active ingredients; it opens up a whole world of possibilities. I’m a daily mask convert!
The other big change for me was the extra effort levels required in the morning. Usually I do the lion’s share of my skincare routine in the evening, before bed and just a very perfunctory cleanse and moisturise in the morning; the Anne Sémonin routine put as much (if not more) emphasis on the morning part, with a cleanse, tone and then a bespoke mask, followed by the Miracle Eye Cream, Active Serum and Extreme Comfort Cream moisturiser. (Or Phytarosa Serum, depending on how much sun I was seeing. All followed by an SPF, obviously, if I needed it.)
The evenings were cleanse and tone and then there was only a mask (the Exfoliating Mask) every other night; the other nights just required a lovely massage with the Soothing Intensive Complex.
I must give a special mention to the Soothing Intensive Complex because I found it to be so beautifully relaxing – incredibly powerful on the essential oils front, which is something to note, but it left my skin looking brilliant and plump in the mornings and, despite its rich texture, my face remained clear of breakouts and the redness around my nose and on my chin completely disappeared. Almost unheard of, for me – I always have some degree of redness there. The complex is a product of two parts – the essential oils, including marjoram to calm and centella asiatica to heal, and the “trace elements”, including chromium to soothe itchiness and cobalt to enhance the blood circulation. Both are to be used together, mixed in the palm – but again, they can be blended to suit your needs. Or added to other products (body lotion, creams and so on) to create a more bespoke treatment.
The only part of the routine that I found difficult to get my head around was the use of the Botanical Toner so regularly. Toner was used almost as a water replacement – taking off cleanser with it, and swiping over the skin after mask removal – which felt (again) entirely decadent but not at all unpleasant. Ewa is a staunch believer that leaving tap water on the skin should be avoided, instead using toner to remove residue. As someone who cleanses with a washcloth and water almost religiously, I found this a bit hard to swallow at first. And though the Botanical Milk was brilliant at removing makeup, and left my skin surprisingly clean, I’d absolutely love to see what Anne Sémonin would come up with if they were to formulate a luxurious balm cleanser!
Overall, I have to say, the made-to-measure skincare routine was a roaring success. The fact that I stuck to a daily mask treatment (and continue to do so, even after my month of testing) is amazing to me – I can barely find time to brush my teeth, normally, but for some reason the morning face appraisal followed by the mixing of the masks is something that has become rather pleasurable. Especially since the results have been so excellent – my exfoliating treatment every other evening left my skin nicely prepped for its oils, and applying a mix of the cream and gel masks one particularly sluggish morning gave me what had to be the world’s fastest non-surgical facelift. It managed to be tightening at the same time as intensely moisturising – nothing short of genius.
On a sidenote, I must reiterate my love for the Miracle Eye Contour Anti-Wrinkle Cream; I’ve seen excellent results from regular use with this. I was starting to get quite crepey around the eye area and the lines at the corners were deepening at a worrying rate, and so I hunted through my stash for the most luxurious-sounding thing I could find. It was the Anne Sémonin cream, and the rest is history. I wish I’d done before-and-after photos – there’s an actual, visible difference, with many of the fine lines completely gone and the skin texture far smoother. Apparently the formulation contains a “marine retinol” that (as well as being pregnancy-safe) has the same effect as retinol but without the potential for irritation. You can read more about it here.
Now obviously I’ve done a full luxury routine using a lot of different products and I don’t think that’s ever going to be sustainable, not least financially! I’m actually finding it incredibly difficult to decide which products I’d recommend over others because I’m enjoying them all so much, but I do think that massaging in the Soothing Intensive Complex is a wonderful end to the day. And I can’t think of anything else I’ve tried that is similar in feel or effects – it’s so potent, but instantly soothing.
I love the daily masks but again, it’s a big financial outlay to have the luxury of a “mask wardrobe” to choose from every day. If pushed to pick one, I’d be grabbing the Exfoliating Mask which leaves my skin very smooth, or the Gel Mask, which is so fresh and tightening. That’s two. I’m useless at this “picking products” game. Ooh, I’ve just seen that Anne Sémonin do a sample pack of four masks for £44 – the Daily Musts Coffret. You get twelve little packs and each one is 10g, so it works out to be very cost effective – well worth a look if you want to create a little mask routine but don’t want to buy a load of full-size versions!
You can find all of Anne Sémonin’s products on their website, as well as at Harrods in the UK. If you are shopping on their website then they have very kindly offered readers of A Model Recommends a 20% discount; the code is RUTH20. The website has an excellent Skin Prescription tool so that you can create your own made-to-measure routine – it’s far more detailed than your usual “answer three questions” sort of thing, and you can even upload a photo of your skin to send with the form. Well worth doing if you’re thinking of investing but not sure where to start!
This post has been sponsored by Anne Sémonin, but all opinions are – as always – my own.